Here at the ‘Nexus, we usually have a tough time finding a reviewer willing to take on a 989 Sports game. Their recent record has not been very good, but they have been showing signs of promise. Needless to say it was with some trepidation that I took on NBA Shootout 2003
for the PlayStation 2 system. I can tell you I was very pleasantly surprised, and I’m not just saying it to rub it in to the other Nexus reviewers.
Turning on the game, you are shown a montage of exciting basketball action backed with Kool Moe Dee’s rump shaking song, “I Go To Work.” Great song, and nice to see some old skool rappers back in the game.
The opening menu provides you with the following options: practice (a very good practice mode, including free throw shooting), exhibition, season (choose a 28,56, or full 82 game season), playoffs, and a career mode.
Let’s start with career mode as it is a very original mode for a basketball game. You’ve probably played a franchise mode where you run a team from year to year, but career mode instead involves you as a single player. You create your own player, distribute your skill points and select your dunk style. You then start off in a summer league and have to show the scouts what you’re made of. If you’re good, you’ll make it to the NBA…if you need some additional training, then it is off to the NBA Development League.
The career mode is a very nice addition to the game. It is in fact an excellent reason to purchase the game if you want to vicariously live through one individual.
As far as the standard gameplay goes, it too is also a lot of fun. You’ll be making quite a bit of use of the right analog stick as many of the special plays require the stick (including playcalling).
The camera in the game works well enough to view all the action and you don’t see the 3 point players coming in for slam dunks – in fact if you do attempt this, you’ll probably miss the dunk. Kudos to 989 for making sure the right players do the right moves.
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